Welcome to My New Effort to Write More Often

First I’ll tell you a story.

Monday I was wearing socks in my house, which I guess I shouldn’t do, because I have wood stairs and I slipped and fell down.

It was a catastrophic fall.

I just slipped down two stairs, but somehow at the end of it, I’d snapped a railing spindle, hit my back and arm hard, and clonked my head on two different stairs as I went down. I do feel a little bit like I’ve been beaten on with a baseball bat, but don’t worry too much about my back and arm because my skull took the brunt of it.

Also, I was holding a glass bowl of water when I fell because of course I was.

I pretty much still have a headache, but I seem to be mostly okay. In fact, I don’t even have a single visible bruise, which is a bit of a bummer because I can’t get adequate sympathy.

But enough about me being clumsy. Let’s talk about me being lazy.

Lately, instead of being a fully functioning member of Writersville, I sit on my couch and watch TV every night like the loafer I am. I would really like to write more often. I contemplated forcing myself to write every day for a month to get me back in the habit, but that seemed like setting myself up for failure and setting you up for any number of hideously boring posts about what I am watching on TV right now.

Instead I’ve decided to try to write at least a couple of times a week, focusing even on things that happened a while ago as long as I want to remember them in this digital scrapbook of mine. Either that or I will entirely give up on writing altogether. It’s really like a 50-50 shot.

I have a whole list of topics that I plan to work my way down. Here’s hoping I’m back soon. If not, it’s been lovely knowing you all.

Wherein Sam is Fabulous*

* Posted with full pre-approval by Sam.

I have exciting news! Sam would like me to announce that she is trans and would prefer us to all use she/her pronouns. She also understands that some of us have known her as male for a very long time so she won’t destroy you if you slip up and use a masculine pronoun, like I do 800 times each day.

But yay Sam! Yay for being you! Yay for being bold! Yay for taking up your space in the world! I am very proud of you, my love.

Sam standing in our living room in shorts and a shirt that reads, "mongay tuesgay wednesgay thursgay frigay saturgay sungay"

I love every part about you, Sam.

Also, who was brilliant enough to give her a gender-neutral name?

Sam has proudly identified as being gay (quoiromantic asexual) for a while now, but I haven’t written about it here as I considered it her story to tell. (I know. The irony after ten years of blogging about my kids. Let’s just say I’ve evolved.) But! She started asking why I hadn’t blogged about it and started outright demanding that I do so and it started to seem less like me respecting her privacy and more like me ignoring her truth. Also, now that she is out as trans, I didn’t want to give anyone whiplash by suddenly changing pronouns on all of you with no explanation.

So, proud us. Brave Sam.

She is out at school and everything, which had to be a scary transition to make. Fortunately, she reports that people—students and teachers—have been great. Jack and Quinn are all good about it too. They were like, “Okay. Can I play video games now?” This generation gives me hope.

I’m sure that she will face challenges as she ages and goes into the world, but I think that one of the best armors against bigotry is a strong self-esteem and love of self. As with my other kiddos, Sam seems to have those. We will continue to nurture her and teach her to be proud of who she is. And she will continue to teach us about strength and pride and who she is. I look forward to seeing how she evolves and I feel so lucky that she trusts us enough to let us share that journey with her.

Photo of Sam with rainbow-dyed hair.

Flaunt it, friendo! (Also, for the first time, Sam had someone else dye her hair for her, which felt a little bit like a stab in the heart, but at least she let me bleach it, so I get the crumbs of attention at least.)

Also, any locals who might have suggestions for resources/support that we can look into would be great.

Posted in Sam

I Wonder What Other Animals Are Secret Residents of My Neighborhood

My desk at home is right near a window that overlooks my street. It’s fun because I can sit there and do stuff on my computer and look out the window to see people walking by and delivery trucks showing up and when the occasional person walks up the driveway to my door, I can assess whether or not they saw me and can prepare myself to hide when the doorbell rings.

Also sometimes I see fun animals walking down the street. Lots of times there are people walking their dogs. Occasionally a deer wanders by. Then there was today. I was standing in front of my window talking on the phone to Alex and Sam was sitting in the room with me.

I was about to tell Alex my super fun animal news of the day, which was that I got the cats to play video games.*

Then, and I couldn’t quite believe I was saying the words, I said, “Oh my God, there is a pig walking down the street.”

To be clear, I live in the suburbs. This is not a normal occurrence. And it wasn’t like somebody’s cute little miniature piglet was out for a trot on a leash. This was a giant-ass unattended pig rooting around in my recycling bin.

Photo of pig at the end of my driveway. There is a ripped up cereal box near him.

The little box by his legs is the remnant of a Double Chocolate Krave box in which our friend the pig finished all the cereal Quinn left in the bottom of the box. Is chocolate bad for pigs? Is it bad for children at breakfast time?

I decided that something bad might happen to this pig if he continued to wander alone so I called animal services and then, because he’d disappeared from my line of sight, I went outside to see if I could find him in case I could give them an update on his trajectory. Because I’m a giver, I also took my phone to take photos for you.

When I went outside, I found my next door neighbors who were all, “It is still here?” Then I saw that the pig was between our two houses, scavenging pizza crumbs out of a pizza box he’d knocked out of the trash.

Photo of a big black pig eating out of a pizza box

Wild pigs—they’re just like us!

But then the pig spotted me and made a beeline straight at me like I was a congealed bit of cheese on the bottom of a pizza box. The he started headbutting me and kinda jumping up at me and I decided that he was either a pet pig who wanted love or one of those human-eating pigs who wanted to eat me.

Of course, Jack’s bus arrived at that very moment so he could watch his mom be attacked and devoured by a giant pig.

And naturally Jack headed directly toward us with a giant grin on his face. So then I sacrificed myself by putting my body between the woman-eating pig and my baby and shoved him through the garage into the house as my neighbors watched in horror. I wasn’t able to get into the house because the pig had followed us and the last thing I wanted to do was LET THE PIG INTO MY HOUSE, so I slammed the door and waited until he wandered a little bit away before I ran into the house as well.

Photo of part of a pig in my garage from very close up.

PIG! IN MY GARAGE!

I went back up to my window just in time to see a stressed out looking teenager holding a cucumber walking rapidly in the pig’s direction. I ascertained that he belonged to the pig and called back animal services to tell them they no longer needed to apprehend a wild pig, which was probably good news to whomever they’d dispatched to our location.

Because, I suppose, pig necks don’t lend themselves to leashes, he lured the pig down the sidewalk with the cucumber. It was kind of adorable.

All in all, it was a very exciting afternoon. I realize that it is now apparent that I don’t have a very exciting life. But c’mon a pig. All by himself. Walking down my street. That’s good stuff.

*****

* I did. It was awesome. My friend posted a photo of her cat playing this game and I was all, “My cats should obviously be doing that too,” and five minutes later Ruby had leveled up to Level 4 and Oreo was trying to pick up the iPad with her teeth.

Back in My Shoes

I had a really hard time making myself run after my marathon. I had hoped to keep up with at least 25-mile weeks to maintain my running capabilities, but I think my body and mind really just needed a rest. I eventually gave in and allowed myself to take some time, only heading out to run once or twice a week.

Alex is running these days, so if not for him inviting me on his runs, I might not even have done that. Hooray for Alex. Plus, he runs faster than I do, so he’s helping me with my “get faster” plan.

I am the type of person who needs an event hanging over my head to induce some panic training, so I wanted to put something threatening on my calendar that would force me into the streets.

Cue the Marine Corps Marathon 17.75K.

This is an 11.03-mile race that, if/when you finish, you are guaranteed entry into the Marine Corps Marathon in October. Registration was last Friday. It opened at 11am, which is when I registered. By the time I got home from work at 3pm and I looked at the site again, it was sold out. Phew! Glad I put reminders on my work calendar to sign up.

Happily, now I have a threatening event on my calendar—a marathon in October. Yikes! Also, however, I have to run this goddamn 11-miler, which, it turns out, looks fucking hard. (Hills, gravel roads, 11 miles, etc.)

Too bad I haven’t been running because that race is in five weeks. Double yikes.

Cue panic training.

I’ve just filled out my training calendar with every run I am taking between now and October 22. Seriously. Give me a date and I can tell you how far and how fast I’ll be running that day. I’m pretty excited about the whole thing.

As long as I’m telling you about my running, I might as well tell you about the race I ran this weekend, which was called the Sykesville Shiver Shuffle even though it was 70-degrees outside and most people were wearing shorts. It made the guy there in the snowman costume look ironic. And it made the people who were running in Hawaiian shirts look less ironic.

This was just a 5k race, but its motto is apparently “Kill the hill!” because there is a big hill they make you run up. I was told that the first mile is uphill and then it is either flat or downhill with a one-mile all-downhill stretch at the end. That is all a bunch of lies though because every time I turned a corner, hey, guess what, another motherfucking hill. When I turned the corner with .75 miles to go and was confronted by another hill, I flat-out told the guy at the turn that this course was BULLSHIT. Because it was.

Regardless, it was a super fun course and at least they weren’t lying about the downhill stretch to the finish. It was one of those downhills where you just have to commit to gravity and have confidence that you aren’t going to fall because if you do, you are going to lose six or seven layers of your face. And probably a kneecap.

Photo of me running downhill. My hair is flying all round the back of my head.

I include this photo from the race mostly because my hair is fucking hilarious in it. While *I* was committed to gravity, my ponytail was not.

Regardless of hills, I still ran pretty fast, averaging about 11-minute miles, which is awesome for me. Yay, gravity!

Anyway, get prepared to hear lots of whining from me as I train over the course of the next few months because if marathon training in the winter in DC was obnoxious, imagine what marathon training in DC during the summer is going to be like. Blerg. Stupid Extremely Recent Past Stimey signing me up for this. But at least she’s getting me running again.

 

Stimey, Tech Genius, at Your Service

A couple of years ago, my mom and stepdad gave us a Samsung Chromebook because they had one and didn’t use it and because we will never turn down a free computer.

If you’re not familiar with the Chromebook, it is basically an all-online computer so it is handy for email and Google docs and stuff. It is also the type of computer that my school district uses for everything in school. Because of this, I plugged in the charger next to the table where we do homework and fire it up to check assignments, work on projects, and check school email. It is super handy.

Or it was super handy until I opened it up one day to find this:

Photo of a broken computer screen.

That’s not…right.

I immediately closed it and put it back where I’d found it because if I know anything about fixing electronics, it’s that turning them off and ignoring them for a few days will almost always solve the problem.

Frankly, if you avoid pretty much any problem for long enough, eventually it will go away.

It turns out that Chromebooks aren’t one of those problems.

When I opened it back up a week or so later, the screen was still broken. Curses. How could that be? I let it sit for multiple days. Multiple.

Step two of the Stimey plan for fixing electronics is to burst into tears and hurl said electronic into the trash. I made a quick decision this time to take positive action instead.

It was a pretty radical approach.

It turns out that if you invest, say, four or five seconds Googling a problem, you just might find the answer. I found a link to a video of a guy replacing a Chromebook screen and then discovered that you can buy a replacement screen for, like, 30 bucks on Amazon.

Soon the screen showed up in the mail and I let it sit for several days because, well, it is an electronic item and I thought it would be a good idea to let it stagnate for a while—like a fine wine or a Chromebook screen you want to magically start working again.

When I finally got my nerve up to sit down and start ripping the Chromebook apart (seriously—ripping; there aren’t even any screws holding the screen casing together), I took a lot of photos because I thought it would turn into a funny post about how I destroyed a computer and electrocuted myself at the same time, but it turns out that replacing a Chromebook screen is really easy.

I pried the casing off, unscrewed the six screws holding the screen into the Chromebook, screwed back in the two screws that were actually holding something else into the Chromebook and were unrelated to the screen, and set about to unhook the cable that attaches the Chromebook to the screen.

This is where I ran into my only trouble. There is a tiny little handle that you’re supposed to yank on to separate the cable from the screen, but that handle is practically invisible so I yanked on the wrong thing and exposed some wires that were heretofore covered before I found the tiny handle, but it didn’t seem to damage anything and I found the handle prior to actually yanking the wires out of the connector, so it’s all good.

Photo of the connector cable. There is a little wire handle about an inch long with a yellow flag on top that I'm holding.

So, yeah, it doesn’t look so tiny here, but that little yellow flap was, like, tucked under something else. Also, is anyone else super distracted by the fact that there are crumbs on the keyboard? Why must everything always be dirty?

I attached the new screen, screwed it into the computer, and spent about 30 seconds re-shoving the casing over the screen where it clicked happily into place. I held my breath and pushed the power button.

Photo of my fixed screen.

Hold on a second while I finishing filling out my job application for the Geek Squad.

Dude, you guys, I FIXED A COMPUTER.

Naturally, then I had to pry apart the old screen to find out what exactly a computer screen is made of. It turns out it consists of four different kinds of stiff plasticky film and a screen of indeterminate material. There is also a little circuit board that you can pry off and give to your kid.

Quinn holding a green strip of circuit board.

This now lives in his room.

Quinn wanted to keep all of the pieces of the broken screen, but that seemed like starting down a slippery slope that would end with boxes of broken parts strewn about our house.

Frankly, we don’t have any boxes to spare for that because all our boxes have been confiscated by our cats.

Starfire the cat sitting in the shallow box the screen came in on top of some bubble wrap.

Ooooh! Bubble Wrap! Extra cushy.

Jack took the bubble wrap from the box the screen came in, which also seems like starting down a slippery slope, this one ending with trash littered around our house, but it seems hard to fight that result.

I still haven’t figured out who broke the Chromebook in the first place, which really seems like a waste of my yelling abilities, but I guess the satisfaction of having done something new will have to be my only reward.

Not Running Around Houston

We all know (because I won’t stop fucking talking about it) that I went to Houston to run a marathon. That said, I only spent six hours of my time there running the race. What else happened in Houston, you ask? Well. We all know that what happens in Houston does not stay in Houston, so I am here to tell you about the great fun of a visit to my mom without my kids for several days. (Spoiler alert: It was awesome.)

I flew out on the Wednesday before the marathon because I wanted some time to get used to the climate and also because do you have any idea how many kids I have? Sometimes it’s nice to get away. (Just kidding, Alex!) I also, without going into too much detail, wanted to give my gastrointestinal system time to…let’s call it “normalize” prior to the race.

Check, check, and check!

I headed to the airport after work, where I was informed by the TSA that their little scanner had registered a “chest and groin anomaly,” which seems problematic, but could apparently be fixed by having every part of my body touched by a gloved TSA agent.

Then I went and ate a delicious hamburger for lunch at the terminal gate where I learned that my plane was being delayed because something about a cargo maintenance inspection and there was some placard that needed to be displayed and there was some confusion as to whether that placard was actually there and they needed to have someone drive over from another area airport to check on it. In my mind I was all, “I would be happy to give you a visual yay or nay on that placard,” but this was probably not what they needed. It turns out that my plane was one of four with this issue that day and at least two of the others had to cancel flights because of it, so I’m going to count myself lucky.

Then once we were on the plane and getting ready to taxi away, a flight attendant asked for two volunteers to go sit at the back of the plane just during takeoff for “weight and balance issues” and I immediately had some questions like, What happens if the weight and balance is off—like, is that a crashable offense? and Shouldn’t that cargo maintenance inspection placard have taken care of this issue? and lastly, Is this plane’s design so precarious that its ability to become airborne is dependent on the weight of two individuals and where they sit?

Why must there always be a problem, right? Anyway, I napped for a long time and then woke up to really pretty clouds, of which I took many photos, and all of which look exactly the goddamn same.

Photo of clouds and part of an airplane wing.

Also, none of my identical photos really capture how pretty it was, so altogether a worthwhile enterprise.

All in all, it was quite an eventful afternoon.

My mom and stepdad (Richard, remember?) picked me up, took me to dinner, then drove me to their home, which they had designed and had built themselves a year ago. Let me tell you, if you ever want to feel bad about your house, go visit someone who basically built their dream house. It is beautiful.

The next day we drove into Houston. My mom and Richard offered to drive me along the marathon route so I could get an idea of what it was like. I thought that was really nice of them because the only thing that sounds worse than running a marathon is driving the course in late afternoon traffic.

Incidentally, slowly driving a marathon route in a big city is a fantastic way to accumulate Pokemon.

Photo taken by me from the backseat of a car. I'm holding a paper with the race route on it. Richard is driving. My mom is in the front seat.

Additionally, it is a great way to see every part of the city!

I am actually really happy that they did this for me. We didn’t drive the entire route, but it was nice to know what was coming and how far I was when I got to certain landmarks in the race. It was more helpful that I realized it would be to know what was coming up. Also, I was able to truly, truly understand that the course was flat—like really flat.

Furthermore, we drove past this most awesome sculpture in the entire goddamn world.


This photo of Goode Company Barbeque is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Yes, that IS a giant fucking armadillo. It’s hard to see in the photo, but it also has steer horns. There’s a whole story behind said armadillo, but mostly it is just a tremendous sight to behold. It is really something. Weirdly, when I was running my race, I passed it without seeing it. I had actually considered stopping to take a selfie with it during the race because, well, c’mon, but somehow I ran past without seeing it. You wouldn’t think that is something you could miss when you’re traveling past at foot-speed but evidently it is.

We were all exhausted after our long drive so we pretty much went home after that.

Friday I had to run my last training run prior to my marathon. I was scheduled for 2 miles on Saturday but I didn’t want to run the day before the race so I went on Friday instead. I wore long tights even though it was hot to get an idea of how warm it was.

Me waving at the camera as I walk down a driveway.

My mom took photos of everything. It was adorable.

I discovered on this run that even though it wasn’t super hot, it was humid and that kinda sucked it all out of me. I decided then and there to not run with my Camelbak because I wanted to keep my back clear to be cooler. It ended up definitely being the right choice.

After that, I went to the backyard where Richard was busy with yard work, bird feeding, and pretending to chop my mom into tiny pieces.

Photo of Richard holding big clippers and my mom recoiling from him.

He isn’t, by the way, British, appearance to the contrary.

Richard was also cultivating some poison ivy under those gloves from his last gardening session, something that caused all kinds of distress for him and mostly resulted in my refusing to touch anything he had touched until after my marathon.

My mom and I went to see La La Land that afternoon. Guess who goes to the movies at 1 pm on a Friday? Lots of senior citizens. There was a preview of a movie with Morgan Freeman being rakishly adorable, which killed with that audience. There’s been a lot of hype about La La Land and I wanted to see it, but I was partly prepared to hate it. It was, however, completely charming.

The afternoon’s film led to a discussion of movie musicals wherein I learned that Richard loves the movie version of Les Miserables and my mom learned that I’d never seen the movie version of Les Miserables, something that Richard corrected that very evening. (No, you’re crying.)

The next day was Expo Day, which my mom kept referring to as, “Jean needs to check in.” I was all, “We call it packet pickup, Mom,” and rolled my eyes, but she kept calling it a check-in, so that’s what it was.

We went early in the day, which meant I was going to miss seeing Meb at noon. That’s probably for the best though because it is likely that I would have just stood in front of his little autograph signing table repeating “Meb Keflezighi, Meb Keflezighi” over and over because once I hear his name, I can’t stop saying it. I’m doing it right now.

The expo was fun. I picked up my packet checked in and then we did some wandering around the expo. I was mostly looking for some ostentatious gear that said HOUSTON MARATHON in big fluorescent letters, but they only had subtle, tasteful clothing. Very disappointing.

There was a shirt hanging on the wall that said “finisher” and had a map of the route on it and it was really fun and I wanted it but they didn’t have it on any of the racks, but the one on the wall was in my size so I climbed up and took it down with the intent to purchase it. I found a jacket to buy (“marathon” is in really tiny letters—why?) and my mom offered to buy the shirt for me. We went to different registers where I successfully purchased my jacket and the guy told my mom that the shirt wasn’t for sale because that is the shirt they give to finishers after they cross the finish line.

It looked really embarrassing. I pretended to not know her until we were away from the booth.

We took lots of photos at the expo. Let me explain.

Photo of me standing in front of a sign that says "Go run Houston."

Hey look! There is a backdrop of some sort! I should stand in front of it and have someone take my photo!

Photo of me standing in front of a sign that says "Go run Houston." My mom is taking a picture of me.

While that someone is taking a photo, someone else is taking a photo of her taking the photo.

Photo of my mom holding up her phone to take a photo. Richard is standing behind her taking a photo of her taking a photo.

Now I’ll take a photo of them taking photos.

Selfie of me, my mom, and Richard in front of the sign.

And finally, because no one is taking a photo of all three of us, Imma need a selfie.

We are super embarrassing to go anywhere with.

My nephew had a basketball game that afternoon, where he was similarly well documented.

Photo of a cute kiddo shooting a basketball.

Unfortunately, my phone camera is not so good at the zooming in, but you get the point.

We stopped by his house afterward where I met his rabbit and the rabbit GROWLED at me. I swear to God. I have never heard anything like it. I crouched in front of it where it was sitting on a chair and he was all “I DO NOT LIKE YOU GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!” I didn’t even know rabbits could growl. Or hate. Sniff.

After this terrible rebuke, we headed back into the city to check in to our hotel. I had been all prepared for post-race hygiene by buying baby wipes to clean myself with and towels to sit on so as not to offend my family in the car after for the hour-long ride back to their house.

But at the front desk when we checked in, my mom was all, “Hey, can we have a late check out?” and magically we had a room until 3 pm the next day so I was able to shower before climbing into their car after the marathon. It may have been simple self-preservation on her part, but it was brilliant and I am very grateful for it.

I then forced my mom to walk with me to where my corral was going to be the next morning so I could time how long it took to walk there and then I had a question about procedure the next day that I’d already asked two people but wasn’t confident of the answer, so I made her walk with me back to the expo where I asked two more people until I felt sure I had the right answer.

(The runner info made it look like you had to go through the convention center in the morning to get through a checkpoint before you could go to your corral, but that seemed ridiculous so I wanted to make sure I could go straight to the corral and get through security there. It turns out that for corral E there wasn’t even a checkpoint at all.)

After our long walk, we went to dinner and then I went back to the hotel, showered, and was in bed by 8:15 for my 5 am wake up.

Then the next day I ran a marathon.

Afterward I showered and we drove home with a quick stop at the CVS for more poison ivy cream and a sweet gift for me.

Photo of me in a car holding a bear holding a flower.

Thanks, Richard! Love Bear lives on my office shelf now.

When we got back, I got into bed for a nap. I set my alarm for an hour and was pretty sure I didn’t fall asleep, but suddenly my alarm was going off so I set it for another half hour and was pretty sure I didn’t fall asleep for another half hour, but I’m thinking I probably did. And deeply.

My stepsister (Sara) and nephew (Elliot) had come over to spend the night. Evidently Elliot thought I was napping too long and should have been woken up to play Uno with them. Fortunately, calmer heads prevailed. I did wake up in time for dinner though. And did I mention my mom has a hot tub? If you’re going to run a marathon, you should totally get a hot tub. Highly recommended.

I wasn’t flying home the day after the marathon because when I made the reservations, my long run was, like, 12 miles and I had no idea how my body was going to react to being forced to run 26, so I gave myself a day to hang out before I flew.

We hung out with Sara and Elliot that morning until they had to go do things. Left on our own, my mom and I made the day an exploration day, even if most of the exploration was mine because my mom apparently has already driven around the area where she lives.

First we went on a walk to the marina in her neighborhood. (She lives on a lake.)

Photo of me and my mom at a marina in front of boats.

Hey look, Mom! It’s that boat you love in the background! (Private joke.)

We then drove a few miles away where there is a left turn and a right turn. The left turn goes to a small town that my mom and Richard go to a lot. The right turn had a sign that gives the name of another small town 17 miles away. We had gone out to dinner in the first small town a couple of nights before and when we passed that sign, my mom had told Richard that she wanted to check out the other town some time. (Foreshadowing.)

We turned left and my mom gave me a driving tour of the town—the grocery store, the post office, the restaurants, the museum that looked exactly like a regular house. Then we found something she’d never seen before.

Photo of a well with a bucket. There is a statue of a white goat standing next to it.

Yep. That’s a statue of the town goat. I love small towns.

Apparently that goat showed up in the town in the early 1900s and learned that if he hung out by the well long enough, people would give him water. Then he learned that if he hung out at the bar long enough, people would give him beer. It is unknown if or what the townspeople named him. Repeat: I love small towns.

After the excitement of discovering the statue, my mom was ready to go home but I insisted on fulfilling her dreams and demanded that she drive me 17 miles each direction to the other town. If one town had a town goat, God only knows what the other town would have.

Turns out it had a very run down main street and a guy sitting by his driveway who eyed us suspiciously as we drove by.

Photo of several store fronts in rough condition.

No statues in sight.

There were also two different signs that promised historical markers four miles away, but they were both lies and we never found anything historical. Frankly, I don’t know why my mom insisted we take that drive all the way out there.

All was not lost though because there was a fudge shop near my mom’s house that she’d never been to and, because I’d mentioned it on our way out, she was determined to stop there on our way back. Unfortunately, she didn’t remember that until after we had passed the turn, so she had to back up in the turn lane so we could get our candy. Because fudge.

Photo of my mom driving and eating fudge.

It was worth it.

Altogether, it was a completely worthwhile adventure.

But we were not done with our day, oh no. We still had to go get me my sopapillas and margaritas, which I had insisted upon as a condition of running a marathon. Happily, my mom and Richard knew a place where I could get both.

A close up of a margarita and some sopapillas.

I think the waiter was taken aback when he took our order and I said, “We’re going to need some sopapillas for the table immediately,” but he brought them and they were plentiful and delicious.

Because Houston was experiencing some sort of weird fucking heatwave, we ate on the patio. I had to take off my jacket because it was so warm. Fucking Houston.

Selfie of my mom, Richard, and me.

I’m wearing the finisher shirt I got after the race. I hear someone tried to buy one at the expo.

And that was it. We got up early the next day so I could go to the airport. I considered wearing my medal, but settled on wearing the race shirt.

Photo of me at the airport curb wearing a shirt that says Chevron Houston Marathon.

The shirt isn’t that exciting, but at least the word “marathon” is in big letters.

You’ll be happy to hear that my chest anomaly had gone away by this time, but sadly my groin anomaly remained. Seriously. What is that about? I did some looking into it online and it sounds like these scanners are all kinds of problematic for trans people, which is really unfortunate. I’m not sure what happened with me though, especially twice on the same trip when it’s never happened before. Maybe I’ll wear different pants next time I fly.

Anywho, I returned home safely where I was immediately assaulted by the day to day realities of public transportation, responsibility, and parenting teenagers.

Thanks for the adventure, Mom and Richard!

Photo of Richard and my mom.

Next time I’ll bring the munchkins too.

A List of Things Alex Did

You know how at celebrity award shows there is always some doofus who wins an award and then thanks everyone from her makeup artist to her lawyer but forgets to mention her partner, arguably the most important person of all?

Well. When Alex read yesterday’s post where I thanked everyone under the sun including a stranger who handed me a banana, he was all, “Too bad Alex didn’t help at all.” Then he threatened me with bodily harm if I tried to change the post after the fact.

I AM SO SORRY, ALEX. YOU ARE THE WIND BENEATH MY WINGS.

Let’s take this opportunity to pretend that I had planned this post all along and I will tell you all of the wonderful things that Alex did to help me prepare for my marathon because seriously guys, I couldn’t have done it without him.

Photo of alex in a suit giving a goofy thumbs up.

Look how cute he is!

• Whenever I had a long run and only ran one direction because routes away from my house are downhill and routes back to my house are uphill, he came to pick me up.

• Sometimes he came to pick me up in really unfortunate places, like Georgetown on a Saturday night or next to the zoo during Zoo Lights a week before Christmas.

• When he picked me up, he would suffer through the stinkification of the car when I jacked the heat way up and sat really close to the vent. Trust me, that’s award-worthy right there.

• He let me structure the entire family’s schedule around my training calendar.

• When a family-related activity conflicted with my training calendar, he stepped up to be the parent-on-call.

• He let me go on a long run every Saturday when I would be gone for hours, then he let me come back and take a nap.

• When I had to get in a run, but knew I wouldn’t have time after work, he let me run in the morning and he would get all three kids ready for school and get them on their buses.

• He was my best cheerleader, never doubting that I would be able to run a marathon and making sure he let me know that.

• He put a ton of extra effort into leading the family when I was training. In terms of putting in a lot of work for something that had no direct benefit for him, he really stepped up.

• All actions including but not limited to the above mentioned activities.

AND

• When I called him after I finished last week’s marathon and asked him if it would be okay if I ran another one this fall, without hesitation he said yes.

Thank you, Alex. I love you.